Espindola airs out New York Red Bull frustrations

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

When you look at his stats, former New York Red Bull forward Fabian Espindola seems nearly indispensable. After all, he earned nine goals and two assists through 29 appearances with the club.

But that is why soccer often struggles to translate in hard numbers. The streaky Argentine striker struggled to find his place within head coach Mike Petke’s defense oriented system and failed to develop a keen chemistry alongside team captain Thierry Henry.

His on-again, off-again production allowed for other options like Bradley Wright-Phillips to usurp his position in the starting XI. As the year progressed, the frustration for Espindola was visible, but he never expressed it verbally — until now.

“Luckily, I scored goals,” Espindola told Emmanuel Quispe of MLSSoccer.com, “but I didn’t feel comfortable and I didn’t like that they almost left me out of the Playoffs.”

His discomfort and lack of playing time reached a level where he even had to address the situation with the club’s technical staff. “Like one of the club’s directors told me: ‘sometimes you can have two great players and you can’t interlace them well on the field.’ Maybe that was the case and I wasn’t the player that Mike [Petke] wanted,” he noted.

According to the article, Espindola’s frustration didn’t stop there. While he was being overlooked heading into the playoffs, he felt that winning the season title served to confuse the team, perhaps even causing them to lose focus on their way towards the MLS Cup.

“[The Supporters’ Shield] is a phantom prize,” he said. “It seemed more a distraction than a trophy and the playoffs are very hard. Sometimes, not everyone can assimilate to that.”

With DC United, Espindola finds himself starting fresh alongside enigmatic U.S. striker Eddie Johnson. Like Johnson, Espindola embraces a change of atmosphere and the challenge ahead.

“I am going in with a mentality to win, to validate the investment the ownership has made of bringing in new players,” he says. “We have to reverse history. We only have to show that the team can function and I think the players have that same mentality to win, knowing that is what is expected.”

  • Alan

    I can understand his frustrations and perhaps he is correct that there are times when people or teams do not gel.

    Having said that, he was incredibly hot and cold and I would think a player of his stature can roll with it. And if the playoffs are so demanding, he shouldn’t have stunk up the field in that second game. That was on him.

    Not sad he left.

  • He had a couple great games that we needed to win the Shield, so I’m not sure why he’s talking down the “phantom” prize. He had a good season and won silverware, but he couldn’t fit in, so why complain publicly? This happens all the time in every sport. You need chemistry, and he was too on and off.

    I’m worried he’s going to hit a hot streak the whole season at DC next to Eddie…this seems like the appropriate story line, unfortunately.